Afghanistan: ICRC helps Afghans survive harsh winter
08-02-2001 News Release 01/05
Following the extremely cold weather that struck the north-western region of Herat last week, the ICRC has distributed 240 tonnes of firewood to some 40,000 internally displaced persons facing a daily struggle to survive the exceptionally harsh winter. Early this week, a 25-truck convoy reached Maslagh camp, 20 km from the Iranian border. With support from Afghan Red Crescent Society volunteers, ICRC delegates delivered the wood to protect the camp residents from temperatures that regularly plummet to minus 25 degrees centigrade.
" The families will now have enough to heat and cook for the next three weeks, " said Christoph Luedi, the organization’s deputy head of operations for Central and South Asia. " This cold snap has had harrowing consequences. We will do what we can to ensure that people get through the difficult weeks that lie ahead. "
Most of the families fled to the camp as a result of the severe drought that affected central Afghanistan last year. Between July and October 2000, the ICRC, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the Afghan Red Crescent itself provided people arriving at the camp with tents, blankets and other shelter material as well as food rations.
Since then, the ICRC has distributed an additional 1,700 tents for newly arriving families together with the Afghan Ministry of Martyrs and Refugees as well as other international and local organizations working in camps in the region.
In the autumn of 2000, a large-scale food and non-food distribution was carried out jointly with the World Food Programme for 28,000 families in the Chaghcharan district of central Afghanistan’s Ghor province. Clothes were also distributed to 7,000 families by the International Federation.
During the coming spring, the ICRC will assist thousands of drought-affected families by providing them with sorely needed wheat, chickpea and vegetables seeds. Food will also be distributed to ensure survival until the first harvest.